texrat.net

infotainment at its semi-cynical best

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Yikes!

Wow.

So I haven’t posted here in 3 years… and some of my last rants were lame enough to get deleted after a fresh look.

As many of you know, my recent writing has been fictional. But publication has been anything but! I’ve posted about that progress on unsettled.space but now the domain is down. I do mean to get it fixed, but I was motivated by someone today to dust this relic off and bring back its original purpose: to share experiences and best practices.

And man do I have a lot to cover!

Later…

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2016 New Year’s Revolutions

As cynical as I may sound sometimes, I’m actually a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. And I sometimes manage to keep some. Here are mine for 2016:
  1. Get fiction published, mainstream. This one may actually be easy: I managed to win Honorable Mention in a contest last year, and as I type this I have 3 stories shortlisted for 2 anthologies. So expect this one to be fulfilled.  See Unsettled Space for more, at some point.
  2. Take my fiction to the next level.  Years of technical writing have led to it being dry and heavy on laborious exposition.  I need to lighten up, abstract the hell out of things.  Get more fluid.  I’m blown away by stories that *seem* to have no exposition at all.  That’s my goal.
  3. Finish a novel. In 2015 my focus was on short stories, a weak area for me for decades. I’m pretty satisfied where I am now with sub-3000 and even sub-1500 word work.  Now to wrap up something 50,000 words or greater.  Look for “Dreams of Lesser Tides” to hit bookshelves this year (okay, that part is a stretch goal).
  4. Finish my first music album.  This has been too long in the making. Gotta get something out…
  5. Perform music live in public for the first time ever.  :O
  6. Start bicycling regularly.  That was a 2015 goal but my bike is still not finished and poor health interfered just too many times.
  7. Run more.  See above, sort of.
  8. Lose another 15 pounds.  Ultimate goal: 155. I currently stand at 172, down from a high of 192.  Lowest was 163 right before 2015 Christmas holidays (grrr…).
  9. Travel more.  I want to visit the Texas coast, New Mexico, San Diego and Finland this year.  Who’s with me?
  10. Spend more time uplifting people, MUCH less time harping on politicians.
  11. GET DIVORCED. This &*(^$! has been killing me for two years.  I have GOT to get this done.  I’ll be nice and not go into the hurdles here.
  12. Quit bitching about being single.  I still don’t like it, I still wish I had female companionship, but I have to accept it ain’t happening and quit inflicting my misery on anyone else.  I’m not even remotely happy, but I promise to do a better job pretending.

Did I miss anything?  Feel free to suggest more.  I’m easy.

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Reflections at 54

It’s funny how age can change our perspective.  How the conceits that convict us as wild young firebrands evolve and even vanish outright over time.

I remember thinking of 40 as some distant trap.  At 20 I wrote a rather insipid song about it, projecting myself forward twice the number of years I’d lived, thinking I’d be damn near decrepit by then.  And yeah, my health sucked at that age, but little of it was due to truly natural causes.  Stupidity of reckless youth caught up, overtook me. Read More

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Amsterdam Flashback, 2009

I’m here for a conference.  It’s a Thursday in October and I prepared for chill, but a light windbreaker surprisingly suffices.  The sun is partly out as Alan and I tool around the city, and you only know it’s autumn when you’re hit by the breeze off the canals.

DSC01167

Amsterdam has always been a magical, mythical place for me, a city of forbidden freedoms whispered about at home by daydreaming stoners with distantly-glazed eyes.  I never thought I’d be here, but thanks to a little tech community volunteerism, Nokia has funded this adventure.  I’ve just been elected to a council that will act as a proxy between the Finnish cell phone giant and its burgeoning open source developer community.

I couldn’t be more excited. Read More

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Why I’m Single: a Series of Unfortunate Intents

About a year after my estranged wife left I decided I’d had enough being miserable by myself.  I wanted to share.  Well, more so stuff like joy, but a sympathetic hug now and then would be nice.

Unfortunately here I am another year later with only a single coffee-shop encounter behind me… and the only thing I’ll say about that one is that you never want to see a 53-year-old man regress to 15.  And I never want to do it again.

According to family and friends I shouldn’t be having trouble.  In theory I should be able to slide right into another relationship.   I’ve tried and failed to verbally explain to friends and family why it’s been so difficult, so let’s see if blogging can get the points across.  And they are legion.

The best way to do this, I think, is describe the unicorn– er, woman I would seek if I were still trying: Read More

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A Tacoholic’s Lament on Antibiotics

Today’s rant is about antibiotics.  And tacos.

After years of ingesting and digesting some of the spiciest and gooiest substances known to man, it turns out I’ve developed diverticulosis.  Not enough salad to balance the queso, I guess.

Along with this fun development my doctor suspects an H. Pylori as well as lung infection.  Combined heartburn, bloating and bronchial spasms had recently sent me to the emergency room gasping for breath.

One more ailment and I think I qualify as a living lab experiment. Read More

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A Friend’s Cry For Help

In late 2011 my dear friend Gary Birkett took his own life.

To this day I have no idea why he did.  He and his wife had just welcomed a new son, and when I last saw him at a conference in Dublin, he and I had the greatest time enjoying a Norway-Ireland soccer game.

e8f2901f7b59402fb55eecaf4bc59a33 Read More

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2015 UT Longhorn Run: An Old Runner’s Experience

On an April 11 Saturday much nicer than it had any right to be, the threat of heavy rain fortuitously replaced by a cool misted morning, 2897 runners took to blockaded streets of Austin for the annual Longhorn Run.  Just over half were students, the balance made up of staff and public participants.  All appeared to have a splendid time. Read More

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Anatomy of a Story: Downtime

According to my mother, I’ve been an avid reader since age two.  Apparently, I had memorized from an old TV soda commercial that P-E-P-S-I spelled the name of a tingly, tangy drink that I could only have in occasional sips.  The way she tells it, she almost wrecked her car when I saw a billboard and shouted, “Look mama!  P-E-P-S-I!  That spells Pepsi!”

On a whim, she decided right then to start teaching me to read, and in short order unleashed the hack writer before you now. Read More

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Relocation Prospects: Denton, Texas?

I‘ve mentioned before that I’m working to open up life possibilities.  Career and home location are the two big ones: family obligations limited options for the past two decades but they’re steadily dwindling as a factor.  My house needs a great deal of rehabilitation before I could get rid of it, but let’s assume I get to that point.

Where would I go? Read More

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